A Christy Award winner from the best-selling author of War Room!
In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and “do life” the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved—only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin’s past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn’t survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.
In his ambitious adult debut, Fabry, the author of more than 50 novels for children and young adults, offers an unusual and occasionally confusing story with a twist. In Dogwood, W.Va., wise spiritual sage Ruthie Bowles wants to help prison inmate Will Hatfield and his old flame Karin resolve their tragic pasts. Karin, introduced as a pastor's wife and mother of three, feels she has settled for a "safe" man "faithful as an old dog but better smelling," rather than Will, who she believes was the passionate love of her life. She struggles to resolve the lingering regrets that have poisoned her soul. From another point of view, we learn that Danny Boyd survived a horrific accident that took the lives of his little sisters. He blames himself and can't move forward. The novel starts slowly as readers juggle several points of view, flashbacks and characters, but once the story starts cooking, it's difficult to put down what with Fabry's surprising plot resolution and themes of forgiveness, sacrificial love and suffering.
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One of the most creative and powerful stories I have read. I mostly read the great classics, such as Dickens, Tolkien, Melville, and the like, since that's where real storytelling substance lies. Much of today's novels are trivial in comparison. In Dogwood, Chris Fabry demonstrates that he can not only weave a creative tale, but he can also infuse it with substance that will make a lasting impression on the reader. A great novel not only entertains, but also confronts and seeks to make sense of the real world. To the final, breathtaking page, Fabry leads the reader on a journey through light and dark that not only confronts the world of humanity, but leaves a message of hope that is not soon forgotten.